I’ve started a new series. This series is going to cover some basics of watch repair, but more importantly, this series is about whether or not you can came money fixing watches at home, part time in the comfort of your own home shop!
If I told you that it was possible to work for three hours a day, five days a way, and pocket up to $800.00 per week doing this as a hobby, you would probably think that I’m trying to sell you some program that costs you hundreds of dollars, and you get to watch me get rich! NO! That’s not the case here!
I’m going to show you how with a bit of investment, you can turn old watches, both wrist watches and pocket watches that you find, which are broken, worn out or just plain dirty as hell, and turn them into money! You’re not going to send me a dime! Not a Penny! Nothing! This is free!
So, how are we going to do it? Read on, and find out! Because this may start as a hobby for you, but there is a good chance that over time, you may even want to make a career out of this… And it works!
What do you need to get started?
First things first. You’ll need a place to work. You’ll know which place is better for you. Some people can work on a table, some need a small work bench, however, any choice you make, should offer you a place where you can concentrate and lay out your parts, tools and cleaning supplies.
You’ll need watch tools. I did an entire article and video about the tools you’ll need. You can click here to view it.
In a nutshell, however, here is a list of tools you need to new basic service, and some of the most common tools I use on a daily basis.
- pliers (small)
- rubber mat
- ultrasonic cleaner
- cleaning solutions
- rinse solutions (watch rinse or 97% isopropyl alcohol)
- distilled water
- staking set (you can get older ones on ebay or at auctions)
- mainspring winder (again, get a used set from ebay)
- watch oil and oilers
- parts tray (you can improvise but be careful, you don’t want to lose parts)
Now, I know what you’re thinking… This is going to cost me a fortune! No it won’t! for less than $400.00, you can obtain all these tools, and be ready to start working on watches. If you decide to continue on, and do much more, you can always invest in better tools as you progress.
Most of the tools you need are available here, on our site. You can click here to see the watch tools in our online catalog. If you purchase them here, please understand that I will receive a small commission from Amazon, as these are linked to my account, and recommended by me. They will cost you no more if you don’t, but every little bit helps me out!
Where do I find project watches?
Well, I guess after all these years, it is time to give up my secrets! Well, they aren’t really good secrets!
Yes, believe it or not, you can get a lot of watches on Ebay. Some of them will turn out to be complete junk, and maybe, if you’re lucky, will be good for parts. Parts, are always good to have. If you’re using this or any other online auction site, then there are things to look for.
First, you want to find watches that look complete. They don’t have to be pretty, just complete. Before you bid, or hit the “buy it now” button, read the description and look for certain items listed there. The best keywords you will ever ready, are… “runs for a few minutes, then stops”. Why is that good? because 90% of the time, that means a watch will work, but either has a bad mainspring or is so dirty, that it can’t run.
“Wound Tight!”. I love this one. What this means to me, is that the watch is all gummed up, and well, needs to be completely serviced. Either of the two examples are good. These are great descriptions to start with.
Now, don’t get caught up in the bidding, or buying of expensive watches. Especially if you’re new to this. Bidding and Buying of inexpensive watches are the best. They give you more buying power, and if you search will, you can get your hands on some easy to repair watches, that you can “flip” for a profit, and feed your new habit!. (This is how I got bit).
Estate & Garage Sales
Another really good place to look is the Saturday morning garage sale. Sure, it is a hassle to get in the car and drive, but you want to read the notices to see which are selling household and personal items. You’ll get some bargains that you just can’t find anywhere else.
The estate sales and public auctions are good, but can be rather expensive. The difference is that you’ll usually end up with better watches, while paying more for them, but in the end, usually works out to excellent collectible watches or easy flips you can make smaller profits on. Sometimes, you can even get watches that sell in the thousands, for as little as $50.00. So, yes, get a list, and show up for the pre-auction viewing!
Swap meets for members of the NAWCC (The National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors), nawcc.org, is a great place to find people in your area that have watches to sell, trade or things they are looking for. They are also a great place to get started with more information on buying watches, tools, parts and more.
I turned my Junk to a Gem, now what?
Not it is time to figure out what you want to do with all these watches. First, do you want to collect them? The reason you’re here maybe because you don’t want to pay someone else to fix them, but you’re trying to save money. Very respectable.
Are you going to flip them? If this is the case, consider re-selling on Ebay, or taking them to swap meets. In some cases, you may even find a second-hand store, that is willing to buy the watches from you, or broker them for you. This is a good way to make quick money. Second had stores, however, are also in business to make money, so you’re not going to get top-dollar for your sell. Keep that in mind.
Once you get the hang of it, you’ll soon figure out that in less than three house, you can take that $20.00 watch and turn it into a huge profit. That is the fun, and that is what got me so excited. So much so, that I decided to change careers and pursue this wonderful life.
I’m very happy to share my knowledge with you, and I hope that it turns out to be just as fun for you.